The effects of musical training on structural brain development: a longitudinal study

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul:1169:182-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04852.x.


Long-term instrumental music training is an intense, multisensory and motor experience that offers an ideal opportunity to study structural brain plasticity in the developing brain in correlation with behavioral changes induced by training. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate structural brain changes after only 15 months of musical training in early childhood, which were correlated with improvements in musically relevant motor and auditory skills. These findings shed light on brain plasticity, and suggest that structural brain differences in adult experts (whether musicians or experts in other areas) are likely due to training-induced brain plasticity.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Music*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*